Enough About This Prostate Stuff!

I need to wrap this medical thing up; I want to get back to my murals today….and more interesting stuff: I need to post a tribute ASAP to the late, great James Brown.

The rules, as I was told, were: no bowel movement, no go home. My wife (who practices medicine) was making noises about getting out of the hospital and going home. The German in me, inclined to follow rules, was arguing against that when I was brought my lunch.

Central to my lunch was a bowl of foul-looking green glop. It was explained to me that this was cream of asparagus soup. It smelled odious; it tasted worse. If I was prone to conspiracy theories I would imagine that this was served to patients that the hospital wanted to vacate the their bed.

Those of you out there who have dined with me know I’m a foodie (I am always on a perpetual nationwide quest to discover the best Mexican food as well as the best barbecue; I am name-checked in the menu of my favorite local BBQ joint, Robin’s. Try their rib tips or their beef ribs).

This was the last straw.

“Okay,” I told my wife. “I’m outta here — BM or no BM. I’ll do it at home. Start the paperwork.”

A couple of hours later, my catheter, pee bag and I were being wheeled down to the parking lot. My wife swung the car around and picked me up. We drove home.

The next day I had a BM. Yay! We celebrated.

About two weeks later I had the staples removed from the long vertical scar that runs from my navel to just above the upper base of my penis. Fairly painless; a bit of uncomfortable tugging as they were clipped and pulled.

For about a month I had what I called a “second mouth”. It was an horizontal open wound (a little more than an inch long) to the right of and a couple inches below my navel. Its initial function was that of a drainage vehicle for any interior infection. Most of the drainage took place while I was still in the hospital. Once out, it was my job to check it and carefully clean it and re-bandage it each day. It recently repaired itself and closed up on its own. The human body is a profound and remarkable organism!

About the catheter: that’s a tube shoved up your penis. Once it’s inside you the doctor inflates a small bubble of air into it to keep it in place. The tube leads down to a plastic bag. That’s where all of your urine goes. I couldn’t feel when I was peeing. Every few hours I’d just notice that my bag had refilled.

When I was told I would have to have this rig I was appalled and a little scared. I thought it would be painful. It sounds like it would be. Not so (for me, anyway). Other than lugging this plastic bag of pee around like an affectionate puppy (which I, of course, emptied into the toilet on a regular basis) and being careful that the tube didn’t catch on anything, the setup was barely noticeable. In fact it was great for watching long movies — I never had to get up!

It came out two weeks after surgery. My wife clipped a piece of the tube, instantly deflating the bubble inside me. I felt a sudden sharp pain and yanked the tube right out of me. That was it. There was no lingering pain or soreness. Easy!

Well, not so easy. I am having to learn how to urinate all over again. During the surgery, two of the three muscle groups that are your body’s urination controls are rendered dysfunctional. That means I’ve had to train the third muscular option to recognize when I have to pee. I also have to build that muscle up so that I can hold my pee. That means (you guessed it) wearing what are euphemistically known as “adjustable underwear” (adult diapers). So, I’m having to deal with that. So far, so good. Although it’s annoying to interrupt my sleep three times each night to get up to go pee, for the past few days I’ve become continent enough (while sleeping, anyway) to recognize the urge to go so that I’ve got dry “adjustable underwear” when I wake up each morning each morning.

I’m still working on the daytime control (and wearing lots of loose clothes). It’s happening, bit by bit with each passing day.

Side Bar – Something Scary but Pertinent:
Once my prostate was removed, it was completely biopsied and analyzed. Before this final biopsy we were under the impression that the cancer was a fairly slow-growing form in just a small part of one of my prostate’s lobes. The final biopsy revealed my cancer to be an extremely ugly and aggressive variety that had spread to both lobes (it luckily had not breached the containing capsule). I was very, very fortunate to have had the surgery when I had had it. If I had procrastinated about the surgery my outcome could have been devastating if not fatal.

The Really Good News:
I was told by my doctor (and by the two huge tomes I read on prostate cancer) not to expect a hard-on or an orgasm for about six months after surgery — and ONLY IF the nerve-sparing part of it was successful.

Well, EXCU-U-U-USE ME! Just sixteen days after surgery….

So there is a “happy ending” to this sordid story, so to speak. And, hopefully, it will serve as a Tale of Hope for other fellas out there that are unlucky enough to end up with this awful disease. I’ve talked to a lot of guys for whom this whole prostate cancer thing has become just a distant blip in the radar of their lives. I think I’m about to join them.

OK — enough about my medical stuff. I gotta get back to work. And listen to and think about Mr. James Brown (who had successful prostate cancer surgery when he was 71!).

Any questions, feel free to ask. If you’ve read this whole thing you probably know you can expect me to be refreshingly (or painfully) honest on the subject.

8 Responses to “Enough About This Prostate Stuff!”

  1. Rick Tucker says:

    So, Bill, that’s a wrap, or as close as you can get to one regarding this particular tale. It was well told too.
    I’m glad you’re resuming a normal routine and hope upon hope I don’t ever have to go through this, however, if the day should come I now have your experience to help me along.
    So, you’re not gonna write about you love for Gerald Ford?
    Going to stick with James Brown instead?

    Rick (someone had to pull your chain now that you’re feeling better)

  2. jeff Doten says:

    I just dropped by to see how things were coming out… Now I know.

    Great you’re getting UP and out again. All day in pajama’s it’s always a bad thing is it ? – Jeff

  3. All I can say is thanks again buddy! Don’t think anyone is getting tired of hearing what you went through (although I know you are ready to move on) because Cancer runs in my family and I definately payed attention to every detail.

    I just watched Return of the Living Dead again with the commentary to celebrate your health! I do that when I need inspiration before Art Directing a project.

    Take it easy buddy and hammer out some great Art!

  4. LYT says:

    Hi Bill. Brian told me about your surgery some time ago, but I only recently braced myself to read the whole thing. Rest assured you were in my thoughts the whole time, and I’m very glad it turned out all right. It may be a while before I have to worry about my prostate, but I will certainly keep in mind everything you’ve said here.

    I trust you’ll be fully on your feet by Comicon!

  5. Robert Konen says:

    I think we met 40 years ago did you go to Belton, Mo. junior high. If you did I lost your Creepy Magazine ink drawing. Bob

  6. olivier JUBO says:

    Hi mister Stout. It’s been a while since the French frog that I am set his eyes on your great journal. The last entries are very deep and touching. It moves me a lot… because as a French fan of your… I do not want to loose you so soon. But I’m sure that you have the power of a great big T rex… and will be up again for our greatest pleasure. So keep on fightin’… do not forget the paintings,drawings an’ stuff. We love you so.

  7. Mark Zimmerman says:

    Hey Bill:
    Been way too long since I last checked in with you. So glad to hear all is well with you in this latest adventure. Of couse I’ve been checking with my wife (the M.D.) this whole time, and all seems to be as good as it could be. Just got done talking to Rhoda setting up for Gainsville this April. If we can make it I’m really looking forward to seeing you.
    Take care sir, love to Kent!

  8. Chris Palmerini says:

    Hey Bill!
    I’m glad to see your doing well and getting back to normal. I sent you an e-mail maybe you didn’t get it. Well I’m thinking about you and miss you. I hope to see you soon.
    Chris

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